New Delhi, May 16 (PTI): The Supreme Court today allowed the Jammu and Kashmir government to file a status report tomorrow in the sensational Kathua gang rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl after the state alleged that the three college friends of an accused might have misled the probe.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a fresh plea of three college friends of Vishal Jangotra, a key accused in the case, that they were allegedly tortured and threatened by the Crime Branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police during the probe and be provided protection by a central agency.
Lawyer Ravi Sharma, representing students Sahil Sharma, Sachin Sharma and Neeraj Sharma, said that they hail from the Jammu region and they and their families were being threatened.
The bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, did not agree with the contention of the students that their further questioning be video-graphed.
Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir government, opposed the plea that the lawyers of the students, who were examined as witnesses, be permitted during their further questioning, claiming that this would “affect and defeat the entire examination”.
The students alleged that they were “coerced to make statements contrary to the facts that Jangotra was with them at Muzzafarnagar from January 7 to February 10. During that period, he, along with the petitioners, attended examinations and practical papers”.
“The petitioners were subjected to the physical and mental torture from March 19 to March 31 by the respondents (state police officers),” the plea said.
Besides seeking security by a central agency, they alleged that despite recording their statements, they were being served with police notice to re-appear for re-recording of their statements.
The plea submitted the petitioners be permitted to be accompanied at all times by two lawyers as and when they are summoned by the state police, adding that the probe in the case be handed over to an “independent agency”.
It has sought a direction to restrain the Crime Branch officials from “harming” and “harassing” the students and their families.
The state police has filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.